Oxford University to test COVID-19 vaccine in children

Oxford University plans to test its coronavirus vaccine for the first time in children, becoming the latest manufacturer to evaluate whether its product is effective among young children.

The trial announced on Saturday seeks to recruit 300 volunteers between the ages of 6 and 17, of whom up to 240 will receive the vaccine for COVID-19 and the others a control against meningitis.

Andrew Pollard, lead investigator of the Oxford trial, noted that although most children who contract the disease do not develop severe conditions, “it is important to establish the safety and immune response of the vaccine in children and young people, as some may benefit of vaccination ”.

Regulators in more than 50 countries have authorized the widespread use of the Oxford vaccine, which is produced and distributed by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, in people over 18 years of age.

Other drug companies are already testing their vaccines in children. Pfizer and BioNTech, whose vaccine has been licensed for ages 16 and older, began trials with 12-year-olds in October. Moderna, for her part, began testing with young people of the same age in December.

According to Pollard, the Oxford tests should help legislators decide whether at some point in the future they want to expand mass vaccination programs to minors to ensure that schools are zones free of the virus and combat its spread among the rest of the population. population.

“For most children, COVID is not really a big problem,” Pollard told The Associated Press. “However, it is possible that in the future it will be considered a broader use to try to slow the progress of the pandemic, so we are only trying to establish the data that would support that path if lawmakers wanted to move in that direction.”

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